This is one of the easiest tapas dishes! And most delicious. Red wine chorizo, or chorizo al vino tinto, is simply a must-have at any tapas party. It works well with any type of dish, like patatas bravas. Or, even just a fluffy focaccia to soak up all the flavor.
Why you’ll love this recipe
You will love this recipe if you love tapas. And you will also love it if you love tapas but think it's a pain to make a million intricate dishes. This red wine chorizo is EASY and is made quickly.
- Chorizo: the main hero of this dish is the chorizo. You need to look for Spanish dry-cured chorizo. These are possible to slice thinly. Chorizo has a rich, and spicy flavor and is often flavored with garlic and pimentón (Spanish paprika). Amazing!
- Red wine: The other hero is the red wine, which will be the glazing. According to Drink and Pair, the best way to go is a Spanish wine and especially young, fruity wines as they are a nice contrast to the fat and salt in the chorizo.
- Honey or sugar: Honey is often used to make chorizo in red wine, but you can use granulated sugar too. It depends on what you have on hand, both are delicious. Honey has more flavor whereas sugar is just sweet. You can omit the sweetener too, but then you will have to cook the red wine for longer.
- Bay leaf and garlic: Classic flavors and so good with this dish! I think they can classify as optional though, as there is plenty of flavor in the chorizo.
Begin by removing the skin of the chorizo. This may not be necessary if the skin is really thin, but sometimes it is rather thick and unpleasant.
Then slice the chorizo. I like them relatively thin, about ¼ inch or ½ centimeter. Heat a non-stick skillet over high heat. Once hot, add the chorizo slices in one, even layer. Nestle in the bay leaf and whole garlic clove too.
Cook until the chorizo is a little crusty (1), flip them (2), and cook until crusty on the other side. Roughly 2-3 minutes on each side.
Add the red wine and honey or sugar and stir to combine (3-4). Let the sauce simmer until thickened, about 10 more minutes (5).
The sauce will thicken more once it cools. Can be served both warm and cold.
As this dish can be served cold, you can store it covered in the fridge for 4-5 days and enjoy it right out of the fridge. However, I would rather give it 30 minutes to come to room temperature to let the flavors become more pronounced.
I would not freeze this red wine chorizo as cured meats don't freeze well. Freezing cured meats makes them lose their tenderness and flavor.
What is tapas?
Tapa is a snack or appetizer in Spanish cuisine. However, 'tapa' just means a small portion of food. This means that anything can be served tapas style. Tapas is basically a bunch of small dishes put together.
It is common in Spain, and dishes can be either hot or cold, or a mix of both at the same table. When you order tapas, you usually order a lot of small plates to share. It is more a style of serving food than the actual food.
However, some classic dishes are often associated with tapas, and this red wine chorizo is one of them.
What red wine goes with chorizo?
Because chorizo is a very fatty and salty sausage, a young, fruity wine works really well. And to be true to the Spanish chorizo, one should go for a bottle of Spanish wine.
Drink and Pair argue that the Spanish wines Crianza Ribera del Duero, Menica, Navarra and Crianza Rioja work best. Malbec, Syrah, and Pinotage also make great pairings, especially if the chorizo is part of a savory recipe like this one.
Do chorizo in red wine need to be cooked?
If you wonder whether it is safe to eat uncooked, the answer is yes. As we use cured chorizo in this recipe, you can safely eat it without cooking.
However, you can't just mix red wine with chorizo and call it a day. You will not get that sweet, sticky glazing and the crusty bits of chorizo.
But then again, I wouldn't mind nibbling on chorizo while drinking a glass of red wine, but I think I'd skip the raw garlic.
What's the difference between Spanish and Mexican chorizo?
Surprise surprise, they are not interchangeable.
Spanish chorizo is a cured (hard) sausage made from coarsely chopped pork. It gets its color from a large amount of Spanish paprika (pimentón) and is also often flavored with garlic.
It isn't necessarily spicy, depending on the paprika used. In addition, it is almost always smoked.
Mexican chorizo is not cured and has softer and fresh meat. The meat is ground, rather than chopped. The red color comes from spicy red pepper as opposed to the smoked paprika in the Spanish. Mexican chorizo is sold raw and must be cooked.
Does chorizo freeze well?
No. As I mentioned, cured meat does not freeze well. The meat will lose its tenderness and flavor and the fat can quickly get an off-putting smell and taste. Keep chorizo in the refrigerator, and away from lights.
Chorizo tapas without wine
You can make a chorizo tapas dish without the red wine. Go for 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar instead.
However, if you're worried about the alcohol content. Just know that alcohol evaporates at a lower degree than water so when the mixture simmers, the alcohol diminishes too.
More tapas recipes
One tapa dish is great as an appetizer, but it wouldn't be a tapas party without an array of delicious choices. Here are many of my favorite tapas recipes:
- Patatas bravas - I always, always, ALWAYS, want/need patatas bravas at my tapas party. Those fried deliciousnesses go quickly and are especially delectable with the smokey tomato aïoli in the recipe. Highly recommend!
- Cranberry sangria - can I include this as a tapas recipe? Well, turns out I did anyway. We need red wine, preferably sangria, at any tapas table.
- Olives and good olive oil, cheeses (e.g., Manchego), grapes, and cured meats should also always be served.
- Spanish stuffed piquillo peppers are also amazing. I usually just get store-bought with cream cheese in it but you could make it and stuff it with whatever!
- Aïoli should also always be served. But you could also have more interesting dips like muhammara or baba ganoush as well.
- Bread, I love ciabatta or focaccia. But also here you could spice things up with for example pan con tomate.
- Another thing I love is to have something fresh like prosciutto-wrapped melon or apple slices. In fact, it could just be the fruit too. Easy!
- Spanish meatballs, Albondigas, is another popular dish that I usually always include.
- Shrimp fritters, or Tortillitas de Camarones, or anything with shrimp really, is also a good addition.
The list of tapas dishes could go into infinity, but here is a great place to start.
I think the clue to making a successful, yet not super stressful tapas party - is to opt to make a few dishes from scratch and then buy the others (or e.g., focaccia can be made in advance and frozen).
Did you like this recipe? Here are more snacks or appetizers I think you’d love:
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